Felipe Massa, where did it go wrong ?
29th September 2011, 21:23 at 9:23 pm #130154
Felipe Massa is the man we probably remember as the man that was virtually World Champion for one minute. The statistics learn us that he has 149 races with 147 starts, 15 pole positions, 14 fastest laps, 548 points, 33 podiums and 11 wins (equal with button). At first glans a successful career, however we currently wouldn’t exactly rate him as a top notch driver.
A short look on his career
2002: He quickly proved he was a competitive driver however he made several mistakes including spinning off several times. He scored 4 points and finished 13th in the standings.
2003: He was left without a drive since Frentzen took his place at sauber. He spent this year testing for Ferrari
2004: A better season for massa he scored 12 of sauber’s 34 points (fischi took the other 22) with a decent 4th at the Belgian Grand Prix. He finished 12th
2005: His last year at Sauber before his dream transfer to Ferrari. He only scored 11 points but out-paced 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve most of the season and beat him in the WDC. BMW bought the team and hired Heidfeld, so massa moved to Ferrari to team up with Micheal Schumacher.
Ferrari 2006-2011 (and still ongoing)
2006: A season with highs and lows, he still had the tendency to spinn and he crashed his ferrari in qualy at australia. He scored his first career podium at the nurnbugring finishing third behind Schumacher. He went on to take four more podiums and his first pole and win at the Turkish Grand Prix. He also won the Brazilian Grand Prix, he was the first brazilian after Arayton Senna to win the GP since 1993. The crowed went ballistic.
2007: He won three races and finished 4th in the standings. He had another great season but couldn’t join the battle for the title as Hamilton, Alonso and his teammate fought out their own little war, however in the end he only finished 16 points behind champion Raikonnen.
2008: Arguably his best season. Wining 6 races and scoring 2nd in the WDC. He and Hamilton took the title down to the last race at Interlagos. Hamilton had a difficult race but fought back heavily and in the last lap Massa crossed the line first and was mathematically World Champion since hamilton was only 6th. But at the moment after he went wide and Vettel went trough. Glock a little bit ahead was on dry tyres in the wet at the last corner he had to let vettel and hamilton trough, Hamilton was World Champion. Felipe was disapointed but showed great enthusiasm for the fans on the podium. In the Ferrari garage the mood was a little bit difrent as one of the mechanics broke a piece of glass integrated in the wall.
2009: The nightmare year. Big rule changes caught Ferrari out the F60 wasn’t fast enough. In Hungary the bad year turned into a nightmare as during qualy a piece of Rubens Brawn’s suspension broke off and hit Felipe on the head in full driving mode. He smashed into one of the barriers without any maneuver to avoid the wall. The whole F1-world was shocked as this brought up safty-questions. A drivers Carousel started at Ferrari to replace Felipe for the remainder of the seaon. Out of nowhere suddenly an old name popped up Micheal schumacher, however a neck injury prevented this but it triggered the German to return to the sport. The choice fell on Luca badoer however after only two GP’s he was replaced by the resurrecting Fischicella who finished the season for the Scuderia.
2010: Another dreadful year after his return to the sport with now new teammate Alonso. His best performance was at the season opener in Bahrein, he finished 2nd. An embarrassing moment during the German GP, after he had a blitz start he was in the lead but the team asked him to move over for alonso because he needed the points. Almost all youtube f1 video has a parody of Felipe’s engineer Rob Smedly saying to him in code “okay…so Fernando is faster than you…can you confirm you understood this message”. This is the moment where Felipe became 2nd man. The rest of the year was even more colorless.
2011: Another confirmation that Alonso is the boss and felipe is second fidle, he simply cannot challenge alonso(read not allowed). It appears he will finish the season without a podium this would be the first time since 2006.
So where did it go wrong? IS he not good enough? did his 2009 crash have some side-effects? Or did the germany deception brake him totally?
What is certain is that he will still be around in 2012, because Alonso doesn’t want a competitive driver next to him. Perhaps he could turn the table around (any chace at all?).
What do yo think?29th September 2011, 23:25 at 11:25 pm #179500
Maybe that spring did knock some speed out of him, or maybe he became a brokenman after the team orders at Hockenheim. He was very good in 2008 and now he’s closer to the Mercedes than Lewis Hamilton in the championship.
Of the top 6 cars on the grid, he is the lowest in the championship, by a LONG way.
That said though, I’ve never rated him that highly, (I think the 2008 Ferrari was actually the fastest car of the year) when he beat Kimi, I think that was because of Kimi caring less than he used to.30th September 2011, 10:37 at 10:37 am #179501
You missed out his pole in Suzuka 06 which I loved that year :P 07 he had a lot of bad luck with car problems. I still think he was the better driver than Hamilton in 08 but at least I was allowed to believe his was a champ for a few seconds. I actually thought he was terrific in 09. The car was a dog but I thought he dealt with it brilliantly particularly at China.
I don’t know what’s gone wrong with him. I think 2010 actually got off to a good start considering he’d had about 8 months out after a head injury he did pretty well on his return. I’d feel a lot more comfortable saying he’s just not the same any more if it wasn’t for his change in team mates. Kimi and Massa were usually at the same level but since Alonso’s shown up he’s blown him away and I don’t know if it’s his head or the fact Alonso is Ferrari’s star or whatever. Sid Watkins did say it would take around 2 years for him to be back at his normal level and he came back too early so I’m hoping next year he’ll improve.30th September 2011, 11:35 at 11:35 am #179502
The bump on the head is where it went wrong. Although I never rated him all that much in the first place. He’s average at best and somehow managed to luck himself into title contention when the number one Ferrari driver got bored and wandered off to get ice cream.
He’s definately not going to improve on where he is now unless Farrari come out with a car that’s miles better than everyone else’s an he has no option other than to come home second behind Alonso and ahead of the rest.
His best bet is to drop down to a lower team, become a team leader, and help them grow whilst his career slowly fades away like Trulli or Alesi.
But he won’t do that, because he loves the Ferrari money and doesn’t mind being a dogsbody in a team where no-one apart from some guy from Middlesbrough cares about him. And smedly’s only paying so much attention because he’s keeping his enemys closer than his friends… He wants that number 2 Ferrari seat. You’d think he was driving the car already from the messages we hear race-in, race-out.30th September 2011, 11:41 at 11:41 am #179503
I pretty much agree with ajokay, except I really can’t decide how much emphasis to put on the head injury. And although Massa drove well in 08 and it was an exciting finish I 100% believe the title should have been wrapped up 1 race earlier, and it should not go down in history that Massa lost by a single point and won 6 races to Hamilton’s 4. And emphasis is put on Hamilton’s mistakes from that year. Wasn’t Massa hopeless without traction control for a couple of races, particularly the British GP, which was just embarrassing.30th September 2011, 12:04 at 12:04 pm #179504
” Although I never rated him all that much in the first place. He’s average at best and somehow managed to luck himself into title contention”
I’ve never believed one can luck themselves into a title race and I never felt Kimi’s performance suddenly dipped after winning in 07. He had more bad luck in 08 but he still put in some fine performances. Massa was right with Kimi through most of 07 it’s just that he had a lot of failures that year.
Matt90 it will go down in history because that’s what happened :P. Traction control was also banned before the start of the 07 season a year earlier irrc.30th September 2011, 12:15 at 12:15 pm #179505
Hockenheim 2010. If he was over going to get back to his best that would have been it but because of the switch all his self confidence has probably gone.30th September 2011, 12:30 at 12:30 pm #179506
No, I think it was 2008 that TC was first banned. Massa binned it at Turn 1 in Australia and then half way through the Malaysian GP and I remember everyone saying ‘Ohhhh Massa needs Traction Control’ but then he went and won Bahrain anyway!
I also don’t think he lucked into a title challenge. He put in a number of great performances in 2008, but it was also a year in which both title contenders made mistakes. Massa also suffered from driving a car that was not particularly suited to wet conditions – in a season with an unusually high number of wet races. I don’t begrudge Hamilton the title in any way, but when Massa almost beat him it’s because, at the time, he was right up there with the best in the sport, and not because he lucked into it in any way. People remember 2009 as the season where his career stalled due to the accident, but if you look at his races that year it was clear he was doing extremely well in that dog of a Ferrari and putting in the sort of performances that Hamilton, Alonso, Vettel and Raikkonen have all done before when in less than competitive cars.
There’s no doubt that the crash has affected Massa more than anything. What compounded the issue is that he’s had to build himself up again whilst he’s got Fernando Alonso as a team mate – and for someone like Massa who is very much a confidence driver, that’s a very difficult task. Any progress he was making last year was stymied – possibly for good – after what happened at Hockenheim.
Despite the lack of podiums I do believe that Massa has actually had a better year this year than he did last year. His race pace has more often than not been a match for Alonso and he’s had some good qualifying performances too. The lack of results are down to two things – firstly, he’s been very unfortunate with collisions, contact and damage that haven’t really been his fault. Secondly, Alonso’s strategy of running longer on tyres than his rivals means he pits later. As he’s usually ahead on the road, that means he pits first, which then means Massa is still out there suffering on track as he generally can’t nurse his tyres as well as Fernando can. A couple of times this year we’ve seen Alonso and Massa fairly close together in the first stint of a race, only for it to massively open out by the end. If Ferrari had the balls to pit Felipe first, I think Massa would have much better results under his belt.
Felipe also seems to be lacking a bit of killer instinct in his racing as well – whereas Alonso can generally overtake quickly and decisively, Massa seems to get sucked in to the pace of the car in front of him. He was never the best at overtaking, but with fuel stops etc he could race around that problem. Now that overtaking is more frequent, it’s simply highlighting his deficiencies in that area. His defending is generally top notch and he can race wheel to wheel, but he doesn’t put himself in a position to do so often enough.
With Massa it’s a confidence thing, and he’s just a couple of good results away from getting back towards his old self if you ask me.30th September 2011, 13:58 at 1:58 pm #179507
I actually think that Massa had a great year of driving in 2008, he was superb. For me, I was surprised by just how good he was (even if I did tip him pre-season) and not taking anything away from Hamilton, I don’t think there is anything to say that he didn’t deserve that title.
I also think that in 2009, he drove fantastically well. I actually said after his 3rd place at Germany that he would win a race. Unfortunately he had his accident, but I still feel that he would have done, because Raikkonen won a race, and the Ferrari car was very quick around that time in the season.
If I’m honest, and this may sound stupid, but I think the German Grand Prix last year helped his confidence. Because he led a race for maybe the first time in 2010, and if you actually look at his results before Germany, thy are 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 9th, 6th, 4th, 7th, 15th, 11th, 15th. After Germany, they are 2nd, 4th, 4th, 3rd, 8th, DNF, 3rd, 15th, 10th. So he actually performed better in the second half than the first half.
I agree with Dan Thorn that his defending is top notch, I mean look at Melbourne this year, he did a great job with Button. Sadly, however, I also have to agree that his overtaking seems to be his weakness.30th September 2011, 14:08 at 2:08 pm #179508
@daykind his performances after Germany 2010 weren’t much better than before. Infact they were actually worse if you take into consideration how much stronger the Ferrari was in the 2nd half of the season.30th September 2011, 14:25 at 2:25 pm #179509
You’re right it was 08 although I was convinced it was 07 as I swore I could remember Kimi giving an interview after winning Aus about the lack of TC. That must be one of the more boring F1 dreams I’ve had.
I always liked Massa but some of his performances in 08 and 09 really did amazed me (and even the odd one in 07). I was worried after 08 that it might have given him a knock but I felt it came back fighting despite how rubbish the F60 was. It felt like he’d reached another level but had matured too but then it all went to hell.
I also agree Dan that Massa has been much better this year. Early in the season it looked like the tide might be changing as Massa outraced Fernando a couple of times and looked well in the mix for a podium at China. He was in contention for pole at Canada and almost bagged a podium and outqualified Alonso in great style at Spa. You’re right about Ferrari’s strategy too Dan. I get so sick of seeing him out there on old tyres. Ferrari’s policy is good in theory but it just isn’t working.
Unfortunately, you may be right about his overtaking. He can be good in a fight as he’s shown and occasionally he can pull off an overtake that makes me wonder “where on earth did that come from?” but there are too many times he ends up just getting stuck into a similar pace and too timid to just go for it.30th September 2011, 14:35 at 2:35 pm #179510
@TodFod – I disagree. In the second half, like Alonso, he seemed like a different driver. I know the Ferrari was much quicker then, but come on, it got to the point where we expected Massa to be near to the podium, so much so that we were all very shocked when he was out in Q1 at japan. Earlier in the season, he had three races with no points. Then he got two podiums and two fourths in the races following that.30th September 2011, 14:45 at 2:45 pm #179511
hi guys oftopic, perhaps i could do a series about the top 3 teams drivers. if ifollowed the championsip hamilton would be next. if any one disagreas or not do say.
sorry for the terrible wtitting im on my ps3.
oh and traction control was banned since 200830th September 2011, 17:29 at 5:29 pm #179512
Every time I read about Massa losing the title brins me those pictures back to my mind and fills my eyes with tears…
If Massa hadn’t crashed in Budapest he might have won one or two races and scored more podiums, and Ferrari would’ve finished third. In 2010 Massa would have had more self confidence and desire of revenge, and without the injury he’d have done better, especially in the second half of the season. Both him and Alonso had problems in the central part of the year, and both resurrected in Germany. If Massa had been allowed to win, hi rest of the year would have been great.
If Massa won at the first races, there’d be no team orders, but this year he has taken so much time to improve, and still isn’t fast enough, that he’s suffer from team orders again if he lead Alonso.30th September 2011, 18:01 at 6:01 pm #179513
I thought Massa was brilliant in ’09 until the accident. Honestly ever since he came back I’ve been waiting for him to get back to that form, it’s quite sad that it hasn’t happened.
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